'Scariest Night Of Our Lives': Mother Shields Newborn As Fire Closes In On Home
A young family on the Sunshine Coast had the fright of their lives as bushfires quickly spread around them.
Mike and Jenna Dekker moved into their new house near Noosa just two months ago, and have since welcomed a baby girl.
But things took a scary turn on Monday afternoon, as the nearby fire at Peregian Beach came perilously close to their front door.
At about 4.30pm, Mike was out running errands when he got a call from his wife, saying the fire was visible from their house.
"I went back home, and shortly after the police came told people to leave," Mike told 10 daily.
This photo was taken just before Jenna left with their newborn daughter.
With the five-week-old baby wrapped hidden under her jacket, Jenna looks out as the flames move closer to their home.
"The smoke was not good, I told my wife they needed to go," he said.
While everyone else in their street left, Mike and his neighbour stayed behind to defend their properties with buckets of water.
"It was creepy, it was eerie, there was smoke all around," Mike said.
Fire crews arrived shortly after and stopped the flames from wiping out the street, before leaving to tackle the blaze closer to the beach.
But by 3am, winds had picked up again and changed direction, fanning the flames straight back towards Mike's house.
Mike rushed to the local Coles, which was set up as the Queensland Rural Fire Service's command post and informed them of the worsening situation.
"I think they thought our area was okay," he said.
Three fire crews arrived and created a dome of water over the houses to stop embers from setting them alight.
Mike and Adrian used buckets and wheelie bins full of water to stop smaller grass fires and keep the lawns as wet as possible.
Fire crews worked until morning to stop the encroaching fire, and Mike thanked them in a Facebook post on a local community page.
"Forever grateful to our neighbors and the Kenilworth fire brigade for being with me all night trying to save our home," he said.
"Scariest night of our lives."
For Mike, who moved to Australia seven years ago from the Netherlands, this is not an experience he wants to relive any time soon.
"This is my first bushfire, it is scary stuff," he said.
Jenna and their daughter are safe and staying with friends.
At least two homes and a shed have been lost, but there are fears many more have been destroyed.
On Tuesday, Queensland Police said it was speaking with "a number of teenagers" in relation to the fire.